According to Wikipedia’s website, “the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer native to Arctic and Subarctic regions.”
For the most part, both genders grow antlers, but there are some populations where the females do not grow antlers at all. “Wild reindeer hunting and herding of semi-domesticated reindeer (for meat, hides, antlers, milk and transportation) are important to several Arctic and Subarctic peoples.”
Additionally, reindeer are preyed on by a variety of predators, including golden eagles, wolverines, brown bears and polar bears and wolves. A reindeer herd is able to provide one wolf pack enough food to last for months. Although, “humans are, today. the main predator in many areas.”
“In the traditional lifestyle of the Inuit people, Northern First Nations people, Alaska Natives, and the Kalaallit of Greenland, the caribou is <still> an important source of food, clothing, shelter, and tools.” Although there are some areas that still follow caribou management practices, including limiting the number of caribou you can kill on a hunting trip and banning the selling of the meat.
So, what does this mean? This means that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen can be referred to as Santa’s caribou. Even the most famous of Santa’s “reindeer”, Rudolph, can be called a caribou. This information has the potential to change a lot of Christmas songs, that’s for sure!
Click HERE for more information from Wikipedia on reindeer and caribou.